A breezy road-trip north-east of the capital of South Australia (take the scenic route via the Adelaide Hills), the Barossa Valley dukes it out with NSW’s Hunter Valley for bragging rights as the most celebrated grape-growing region in Australia.
The patchwork valley hillsides sustain more than 80 vineyards, producing over a fifth of Australia’s wine – mostly big, ballsy reds. A distinct local foodie culture has evolved alongside the drinkables, with cool cafés and sexy restaurants extolling regional fare with a doff of the cap to the valley’s Germanic heritage. Fleeing religious persecution, Lutheran immigrants came to the Barossa in 1842, bringing with them hardy vine cuttings. Historic stone-wall towns like Tanunda, Bethany and Angaston are infused with Teutonic tastes: admire gothic church steeples and brass band festivals and rifle through food stores for smoked wurst, pretzels and sauerkraut. Guten appetit!
Summer in the Barossa (December to February) can be hot and heaving with visitors: better to time your trip during autumn (March to April) when the grapes are being harvested, the days are fresher and the nippers are back at school.